Dirty Dozen Dogmas That Damage Accounting Practice Growth

(This post is part 1 of 12 of the series “Dirty Dozen Dogmas That Damage Accounting Practice Growth”).

I know a CPA. His brother is also a CPA. Both are in practice for over 15 years. The one I know owns a “multi-million” Dollar accounting services business. His brother’s practice is making good money but yet to reach a million a year.

Given the almost similar services they provide and the technology they use, the only real difference between them is certainly just one. DOGMAS.

One CPA has overcome the dogmatic limitations. The other hasn’t, yet.

Dogma is a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system’s paradigm, or the ideology itself. ……Wikipedia

I interact with CPAs every day. I work with some of them. I have closely tracked and observed the practice situations of many. One question that I have asked several CPAs is:

“What’s their number one challenge that stops them from building the practice that they dream of?”

Analysis of answers collected over the last 10 years resulted in identifying the 12 most common challenges CPAs face in growing their practice. I call these challenges:

“The Dirty Dozen Dogmas that Damage Accounting Practice Growth”

Here is the first dogma that haunts CPAs.

DOGMA 1 : I DON’T HAVE THE TIME:

Dirty-Dozen-Dogmas-That-Damage-Accounting-Practice-Growth-Part-112-s600

Here are some variations I actually heard from some CPAs:

  • I am working longer and longer hours but am not really making more.
  • I am way too busy.
  • I sacrifice personal life or family needs for professional responsibility.

It is one of the most challenging dogmas for anyone to overcome. The most influential Management Gurus have established the fact via verifiable research that “work expands to the time available”. We “justify” to ourselves the “need to work longer and harder” but essentially we are just making a choice – between being busy so that we feel “we did our work” and avoiding taking new risks. You might notice that both choices end up in the same outcome – being stuck in the “no-time” dogma.

How to Break-Free from the “No-Time” Dogma?

What you will read in the following paragraphs are not just a few logical answers. These insights come from observations of several CPAs who have overcome this challenge successfully.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important”. ……………….. Steve Jobs

  • CPAs who have successfully tackled the “no-time” dogma seem to have understood the real value of their time. They put a premium on their time.
  • They simply refuse to do things that others can do for them.
  • They have controlled the control-freak in themselves (they were honest enough to admit that they were control-freaks but they actually resist the urge to be so).
  • They have obsessively implemented new technologies that integrate and automate process steps to make time.
  • They certainly have inspired their clients to follow more efficient processes.
  • They manage by outcomes. They do not manage process steps. But before they reached this stage of managing by outcomes, they defined their processes in minute details, with several checks and balances in procedures.

Time is finite. See this interesting infographic that suggests you have only 9 years to spend with your family and friends; to play, laugh and cry; to fall in love; to see the world and to pursue your passions! Creating time is possible and you can have more than 9 years if you choose to do so.

For 8 practical ideas on how to create time, read I Never Thought I Could Create Time – But This Research Proved Me Wrong! You would also find Geoffrey James’ article 10 Huge Time-Wasting Mental Habits very useful.

Creating your “Not-To-Do’s” list (this post includes a link to Harvard Business Review’s free online assessment on how to make time for the work that matters) can be your first step to overcome this dogma. An excellet post from MindTools gives you everything you need for Using the Power of Other People’s Help. Here is a head start by using feedback from CPAs: STOP Doing These 17 Things.

Using and managing our own time is a Dogma – our belief system tells us how to use time effectively. But that’s what it is – a belief, that we are using our time the best we can. We then get into the habit of doing things that we feel are the most effective use of our time. But, once you experience that you can accomplish much more by leveraging other people and technology, you would never want to go back to doing those things that just consume your precious time. In other words, you want to first challenge the Dogma and then create a proof for yourself that there are indeed better and more effective ways to use your time.

Please share your ideas on how you make time in your daily routines.

This is part 1 of the 12 parts series of articles that will be published to explain the 12 most common practice growth challenges accounting firms face and suggestions on how to overcome them. Watch out this space for the 2nd part coming soon.

At Pransform, we are laser-focussed on providing life-liberating work choices for accountants. If you are a CPA wanting to overcome the no-time Dogma, Pransform could be your first step towards the solution that helps you take advantage of back-office accounting services. When you consider outsourcing accounting services, you are looking to leverage these benefits of accounting outsourcing for CPAs – a proven successful strategy used by over 70% of top 100 accounting firms. CONTACT US NOW to get started with your practice growth.

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